SALT LAKE CITY — The anti-human trafficking Malouf Foundation and Southern Utah University on Tuesday announced a new scholarship for survivors.
The Juniper Scholarship will allow those who have been human trafficked to earn a bachelor's degree through SUU's $9,000 online general studies program.
"The Juniper Scholarship is named after the Utah juniper tree. Its ability to grow despite harsh conditions parallels the experience of many trafficking survivors, who despite being forced to endure cruel environments, still found hope and freedom," Kacie Malouf, foundation chairwoman, said during a news conference in Salt Lake City.
The scholarship fund, which includes private and public donations, already has enough to pay for school for 40 survivors, she said, which is far "more than we ever could've expected as we kick off this program."
SUU Provost Jon Anderson said the partnership seeks to take people have been trafficked to "help shape their future" and improve their lives. If someone pursues an education over their lifetime, they're more likely to be employed, and their earnings increase significantly, he noted.
The degree allows someone to enter college with no existing college credit and complete 40 courses that include general studies. Students can focus on fields like personal, family and human development, or political or institutional systems, Anderson said.
Those interested in applying can email email@example.com. To be considered, individuals must already be accepted into SUU's general studies program, complete a short personal essay, and submit a referral form from a therapist, doctor, social worker or another third party.